Recently I was with a close friend who is also a highly respected executive in a Fortune 100 company. He expressed that he is simply exhausted from the flights, fights, and fiscal fanaticism of his corporate life. Over the years, I have come to know him and respect him for his outstanding competency and even more outstanding character. He mentioned to me that he seeks to inspire his large team, yet he receives no inspiration from the top. His positional superiors seem to be myopic concerning Earnings Per Share (EPS) and have a minuscule desire to provide the tools to equip people for genuine success.
My friend’s complaint is not unusual these days in corporate America. Effective leaders not only want to have a sustainable, profitable company, they also want to make a positive difference in the lives of others today and in the future. How do they do this?
First, leaders inspire! They breathe life into the workplace. They inspire others to see their roles as a calling, not just a job. They breathe life into projects so that the workforce sees the end benefit of their results to make this world a better place. They inspire so people do not just see manufactured gadgets, but people whose lives are better because of those gadgets and widgets.
Second, leaders equip! Not only do they breathe life into people, processes, and projects, they also provide the tools necessary to be successful. Every healthy human being desires to grow intellectually, emotionally, relationally, professionally, and spiritually. Leaders influence their teams when they provide the tools necessary for growth.
Third, leaders encourage! Leaders know all too well that we are imperfect. They also know that nearly all people have a desire to learn and grow from their mistakes. Leaders are willing to pick up those who have stumbled, hang with them until they get it right, and pat them on the back when they do it right.
I have the highest respect for my friend. He has made billions of dollars for his company. If his leaders remain blind to the importance of inspiring, equipping, and encouraging–they will lose him. But even worse, they will lose the hundreds that have been inspired by him.
- Tony Baron
President, Servant Leadership Institute